Return to the Land of the Walking Dead
Every Halloween is time to return to the Land of the Walking Dead. Next week we're on. Until then, revisit this previous trip and my notes on the experience.
How many people have noticed that the name of the Georgia town (Senoia) has been removed from the water tower (above) that towers over downtown Senoia. The city has been the setting for the AMC Series THE WALKING DEAD for years. Senoia doubles as the fictional "Woodbury" from the TV show. The same area normally sports many "Welcome to Senoia" signs including a large logo on the water tower.
The names have been removed as filming is ongoing at the bottom (south end) of Main St. Production of THE WALKING DEAD has taken over the entire block south of the railroad tracks and to the west of downtown Senoia. Below: An image from last spring with banners and the town's name clearly visible on the water tower.
Check out all of our
THE WALKING DEAD
and the recent USA Today feature
which featured a some of our photos.
If you visit ignore your GPS and find a parking space on Main Street, walk to the bottom of the hill then across the railroad tracks, and look out for burly security guards and cops protecting the main production area centered between Lower Creek Trail and Baggarly Way south of Gin St.
Click on the map above for a larger view and stop reading if you don't want to encounter any spoilers about the upcoming season.
Map of The Wall and Main Shooting Area
The thick red lines on the map above indicate areas where a 15-foot (5 m) wall has been erected around parts of Senoia. The wall is part of previous seasons, made to look old but actually quite new. Everywhere the wall crosses a neighborhood the streets are blocked and there are plenty of warnings to keep out and refrain from approaching stars of the show or taking photos. On the opposite side of Main St. you can still get to the DRIVING MISS DAISY house at 204 Bridge St. (noted on the map with red dot) but the bridge across the street is now off limits.
Note that a lot of Senoia is now off limits even to pedestrians. This is a new development. Looking south down Pylat St. from Seavy St. THE WALL is in the distance.
Above: Zooming in a bit closer on THE WALL we've put an arrow to highlight its location. Click on this or any other image for a larger view.
Below: Zooming in still closer (follow green arrow) to the substantial wall surrounding part of the neighborhood.
While THE WALL could be to keep prying eyes out of production areas it appears to be made to look old and weathered indicating that it is likely integral to an upcoming show narrative.
So with large parts of Senoia walled off what's a tourist to do?
One can still stroll along the little Main St. and check out the shops. Most sell antiques and other stuff that most tourists probably aren't interested in viewing nor buying. If you need a restroom, however, you should plan ahead. Restrooms are few and far between and public access to business restrooms is largely prohibited. What's up with that?
One can also take photos of their feet with the Hollywood Boulevard-like plaques denoting shows filmed in and around Senoia.
And, if you want touristy souvenirs from THE WALKING DEAD you can go to The Woodbury Shoppe at the corner of Seavy and Main St. and buy plastic mugs, t-shirts, games, and other Made in China mementos of the Made in Georgia show.
If you're lucky you can pose with one of the stars of THE WALKING DEAD, but don't let the producers know what you're up to. Those poses and autographs are now strictly for sale.
Below, the cat on the Chinese lantern looks to be saying
"Oooo I'm telling. . . you put your hand on Andrew Lincoln's sweaty neck. . . and took a picture. That'll be $250."
If you're not good at reading maps look for this burned out church behind the post office at Gin and Broad Street. This is the center of current production.
Below: Is it possible they haven't erected enough "NO" signs? In the background are the cast and crew trailers between McKnight, Baggarly Way, Lower Creek Trail, and Gin St.
The big yellow sign reads
In the interest of public safety we have asked the cast and crew not to stop for autographs or photographs. Thanks for your cooperation and support —Stalwart Films—
Again. What's up with that? Public safety? One of the great things about THE WALKING DEAD production was its accessibility, especially in and around Senoia. I guess when a show can draw more viewers than Sunday Night Football things are bound to change. . .
Below, A panoramic shot of the cast and crew trailer park south of Gin St. Click on the image for a larger view. On a recent afternoon there were few tourists, many cops and private security guards and a few passing cars. The cast was clearly visible meeting outside of their trailers, but you won't see those pictures here. They were obviously prohibited.
Below: Another view of the cast and crew trailer park south of Gin St.
No means NO! A recent afternoon I was talking to a few elderly fans who were trying to get a closer look. They walked a little too close to the NO signs and were quickly turned away. The streets of Senoia have largely become private property.
So what is all of this NO Photography, NO Autographs, NO nothing about?
What can we say about this development? It speaks for itself. As the title of this post says, Selling The Walking Dead.
Don't try to get to Herschel's Farm from Season 1 and 2 on Chestlehurst Road just east of the intersection of 74/16 (down the road from Southern Country Steakhouse) nor the prison from Season 3 in the same area. Chestlehurst Road is completely closed at the railroad tracks by the Raleigh Studios lot. They're not kidding about NO nothing. Expect to be quickly escorted away if you find yourself close enough to snap photos like these. The prison has been razed and the road is no longer public.
The railroad tracks that are integral to so many scenes in THE WALKING DEAD are also strictly off limits. Why don't they just steal some abandoned cars like they did in Seasons 1 & 2. If only Shane was still alive. . . they wouldn't be spending so much time walking those rails. . .
You can still sit in the Senoia Coffee and Cafe (below) close enough to see the stars moving from their trailers to the sets, but be prepared to buy something and know that they only have one toilet in one unisex bathroom. Again, what's up with that? If you're very lucky a star or producer will come in for a snack. . .
Bathroom suggestion: If you really need to go after that long ride down from Atlanta, drive southeast out of town on Wells St (Hwy 16). A couple blocks from Main Street Senoia you'll come to the intersection of Hwy 16 and Hwy 74. There you'll find a new-ish McDonalds with Men's and Women's restrooms on one corner and a Flash Foods gas station on the other. Flash Foods also has restrooms.
If you're still lost trying to find Herschel's Farm and Chestlehurst Road. Keep going southeast on 16 beyond McDonalds and take the first left at the Southern Country Steakhouse and Prime Auto. That's Chestlehurst Road . . . but you won't get far. The barbed wire fence is where the prison was and Raleigh Studios blocks the road about a mile down forever making the Farm off limits to prying eyes.
If you want to find Starr's Mill, shooting location for SWEET HOME ALABAMA and other films, again, forget your GPS, it will only annoy you and take you in circles. . . follow the directions at:
There are several public port-o-toilets at Starr's Mill, but they are poorly maintained and sometimes . . .well. . . frightening.
So many photos, so little time to organize them into themes, so here are a few assorted shots that I found amusing or interesting. Above. Mike Clampitt for North Carolina House signs. Yes there are still Calmpitt's in them thar woods. You can read Mr. Clampitt's promises on his campaign page. Second Amendment Rights are number one. . . there's mention of "conservative" and "Christian," and "limiting government." There is nothing on his campaign page about cleaning up the Nantahala National Forest. . . nor anything about preserving the Great Smoky Mountains. What would Jed think? One thing for sure. Jed Clampett spelled his name with an "e," as in Clampett. . . and yes, I touched that sign too.
Below: I couldn't figure out who was defecating in the bird feeders overnights. Now I know. It was opossums (Didelphis virginiana). When confronted with the camera they played 'possum and went totally motionless. I would think them quite cute were it not for their rat-like tails.
. . .and by the way, opossums are marsupials, not rodents. They also have remarkably robust immune systems making them largely immune to the venom of pit vipers and rattlesnakes, immune to rabies, and very resistant to more common diseases that afflict domesticated cats and dogs. Got to respect their resiliency to survive in the face of ever encroaching humanity.
Below: I love these paw prints that someone painted on the pavement at New Smyrna Beach Dunes Park to lead people with dogs to the correct path for their pets.
And what would a trip to the dunes be without a stupid photo of blogger playing around trying to touch the top of the 175 foot Ponce de Leon Inlet Light. This blazing hot October afternoon I only temporarily moved my hat around so my face and bulging forehead veins (from the heat) would be visible for the camera.
And below, a much nicer view of the lighthouse without goofing photographer.
Temperatures the next few days are forecast to top out in the low 90°s F
(33° C) with little to no chance of rain. Hurricane season 2014 is mostly a bust and quickly winding down.
The absence of top predators appears to lead inexorably to ecosystem simplification accompanied by a rush of extinctions.
The story of a hobbyist whose workshop sits among Louisiana's cypress trees suggests that in an environmentally degraded world every little chunk of restored wild land is helpful.